TikTok & TikTok Shop Strategy Expert Panel Episode (episode 476)

TikTok is a channel with HUGE potential for eCommerce brands, and if you want to make it work for you – you need to listen to this episode.

TikTok & TikTok Shop Strategies for eCommerce Sales Growth on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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Dive in:

[02:02] Best way to drive sales on TikTok
[06:35] Can you do just one TikTok marketing tactic?
[10:00] Do you need to invest in your organic brand account?
[13:02] Ads!
[15:39] Who does TikTok Shop work best for?
[19:52] Do you list all your products on TikTok Shop?
[24:50] What incentives are there to use TikTok and advertising?
[27:25] Live stream success tips
[32:57] Fulfilment and Ops checklist
[38:04] Affiliates and Influencers advice
[44:19] Their 2024 strategy tips

Our TikTok Experts:

  • Barney Waugh, TikTok
  • Ben Muir, Unsociable
  • Manisha Taparia, Shipbob
  • Thiago Nogueira, Insense

Best way to drive sales on TikTok

  • Barney says it’s affiliate marketing for him. It’s effective for both new and established merchants. It also allows for leveraging content created by influencers and driving both organic and direct sales.
  • For Thiago, it’s a combination of strategies, with a focus on creating multiple touchpoints. He recommends TikTok’s Spark Ads for their reach and control, while also appreciating the blend of organic and paid content.
  • Manisha says a solid affiliate marketing strategy is important. Affiliate marketing, combined with TikTok Shop, is driving significant sales on the platform.
  • Like Barney and Manisha, Ben finds affiliates to be effective for volume sales. He also prefers livestream selling. He enjoys the direct interaction and engagement it fosters between the customer and presenter, highlighting the unique and enjoyable aspects of this sales method.

Can you do just one TikTok marketing tactic?

  • Ben says that while mastering multiple selling strategies is ideal, it’s possible to achieve success with just one method initially. He noted that certain tactics, like live selling or using affiliates, can work effectively on their own, but they may fatigue over time, requiring a more diverse approach.
  • Manisha adds that while mastering multiple strategies is beneficial in the long run, focusing on one approach can also lead to success.
  • For Thiago, content and product quality on TikTok are important. To be successful, you must have a catchy product and do creative research before producing content or working with creators. Use tools like the TikTok ads library. Combine strategies such as product seeding, Infeed ads, Spark ads, and TikTok shop, tailoring them to see what works best for your brand.

Do you need to invest in your organic brand account?

  • For Barney, while having a good organic brand identity can be beneficial when launching on TikTok, it is not essential. There are sellers who have become prominent without a pre-existing brand identity, primarily through affiliate marketing, where creators tell the brand’s story and drive sales.
  • Manisha agrees with Barney, stating that having an organic presence is additive but not a prerequisite for success on TikTok.
  • Ben points out that while currently, it’s possible to succeed on TikTok without an organic brand account, this might change as the platform matures and becomes more competitive. Content quality will become a crucial differentiating factor in the future.
  • Thiago says that for small brands just starting out, it’s advantageous that they can be present on TikTok without a significant organic account. He mentions the usefulness of Spark ads and other tools that allow brands to have a presence and gain social proof through creators, even without their own developed brand account.

Allocating Budget to Ads

  • Ben acknowledges the high return on ad spend achievable on TikTok. However, he advises against shifting all ad budgets to TikTok. He instead recommends a multichannel strategy for the best results.
  • Barney also highlights the value of TikTok shop ads while also saying it’s important to invest in other areas of a business. Diversify your investments, including content creation and brand promotion on other platforms, to support presence and sales on TikTok.

Who does TikTok Shop work best for?

  • For Thiago, products with mass appeal and those that are impulse buys tend to perform well on TikTok. Items that can show a transformation, practical results, or a visual impact quickly are particularly successful. He adds that products priced at $100 or less are especially suitable for TikTok.
  • Barney says there’s no specific limit to the types of products that can be successful on TikTok Shop. If you have a product you believe in, it can find success on the platform. TikTok integrates with various eCommerce platforms and has fulfillment partners, making it accessible for a wide range of sellers. Any brand can try selling on TikTok Shop, regardless of the product category.
  • Ben emphasizes the importance of selling something unique, whether it’s a common item with a unique selling point or marketed in a novel way. TikTok is a platform where people seek inspiration and discover new things, so products that can captivate and inspire an audience are likely to succeed.

Do you list all your products on TikTok Shop?

  • Manisha advises focusing on the most popular products in a brand’s catalog, as trying to promote every item might not yield a good return on investment. The focus should be on products that resonate with consumers and that the brand is passionate about.
  • Barney agrees with the idea of focusing on “hero products” but also suggests listing all products on TikTok Shop. Any product has the potential to go viral, especially if a creator picks it up, turning it into a new hero product. What’s important is visibility and the chance of virality on the platform.
  • Thiago also agrees with the approach of a curated list of products that resonate well with the audience and creating content specifically for these products. He says it’s important to guide clients in choosing the right products to start with on TikTok.
  • Ben says that typically, the process involves looking at bestsellers but also considering unique items that might appeal to TikTok users. It’s worth testing different products to see what resonates with the TikTok audience.

What incentives are there to use TikTok and advertising?

  • While not directly involved with the advertising side of TikTok, Barney says there are incentives provided on the TikTok Shop side for customers. He adds that there are likely new customer incentives for advertising as well.
  • Ben notes that TikTok frequently changes its incentives, and they can vary by region. Check TikTok for Business in the local region to see the current offers, which often include matching ad spend or providing a cash bonus for a certain amount of ad spend.
  • From the U.S. perspective, Manisha mentions that she doesn’t have much visibility on ad incentives but is aware of significant shipping and fulfillment incentives currently running. In the U.S., if the average order value is above certain, a considerable portion of the shipping costs can be subsidized by TikTok. She clarified that this applies to sales on TikTok Shop.

Live stream success tips

Thiago outlines a basic checklist for successful TikTok lives:

  • Set up a proper live room and use a tripod.
  • Have a script or guidelines, even though the content is organic.
  • Publish teaser videos beforehand to create buzz.
  • Make the live stream entertaining and engaging, not just sales-focused.

Ben emphasizes the importance of:

  • Dressing appropriately and choosing the right presenter.
  • Having dynamic and entertaining content to retain viewers.
  • Testing scripts to find out what works best.
  • Maintaining high energy throughout the live stream.
  • Going live frequently to help the algorithm learn and send the right traffic.
  • Recommending brands to go live about 5 times per week for 3 hours.
  • Consistency in presenters to build familiarity and connection with the audience.

Fulfilment and Ops checklist

Manisha, focused on the U.S. market:

  • Emphasizes the importance of meeting TikTok’s dispatch and delivery requirements.
  • Sellers have 3 business days from order import to dispatch and a 5-day delivery window.
  • Violations of these requirements can lead to store or product delisting.
  • Encouraged using fulfillment options available through TikTok, like “Fulfilled by TikTok,” where TikTok handles all fulfillment and shipping.
  • Notes the challenges for brands that experience rapid growth on TikTok, stressing the need for adequate fulfillment support.

Ben Muir, from a UK perspective:

  • Agrees that the UK situation is similar to the U.S.
  • Highlights the importance of finding the right fulfillment partner as the business scales.
  • Mentions the launch of “Fulfilled by TikTok” (FBT) in both regions as a great option for sellers.
  • Stresses that there are more options available for sellers now, making fulfillment easier.

Barney Waugh:

  • Adds that new sellers on TikTok Shop go through a probation period with restricted order volumes to prevent issues caused by viral products.
  • Advises sellers to be flexible and open to changing their fulfillment options or exploring other shipping platforms.

Affiliates and Influencers advice

Thiago Nogueira:

  • Start with product seeding by sending products to a variety of creators to find genuine enthusiasts who create authentic content.
  • Expect a conversion rate of about 25% for creators who will produce content from those who receive the product.
  • Progress to affiliate, pay-per-post, and ambassadorship campaigns once suitable creators are identified.
  • Use a marketplace tool for briefing a community of creators and receiving applications.

Barney Waugh:

  • Emphasizes the ease of starting affiliate marketing for those already on the platform.
  • Check out the three affiliate plans available on TikTok: Shop Plan, Open Plan, and Target Plan, each with different commission structures.
  • Understand product margins to set competitive commission rates.
  • Start with a higher commission rate to attract creators and then adjusting as necessary.

Ben Muir:

  • Highlights the importance of nurturing relationships with a small group of creators for regular content and higher conversions.
  • Emphasizes the human-to-human aspect of building and maintaining these relationships.

Their 2024 strategy tips

  • Manisha’s key takeaway is straightforward: if you’re not selling on TikTok, using TikTok Shop, or advertising on TikTok, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity.
  • Ben says for those already selling or planning to sell on TikTok in 2024, the focus should be on improving content creation.
  • Barney advises that launching a brand on TikTok has never been easier, whether for new, growing, or established brands. He says now is the right time for brands to get on the platform if they aren’t yet.
  • Thiago encourages brands to get on TikTok. It’s user-friendly and it doesn’t require a pre-existing presence. Test, learn from insights, and be patient with the process for successful outcomes.

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • Startup manufacturing and cashflow problems, crowdfunding, and organic social with Frankly Delicious (episode 394)
  • Scaling a Slow Fashion Business with Kristian Hansen (episode 445)
  • Loyalty Points, Referrals, and User-Generated Content with Laura Crawford from Mama Bamboo (episode 446)

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